Published December 10, 2008 10:22 AM

Wetter and wilder: the signs of warming everywhere

In the third part of our series on the eve of the Poznan conference, we look at how climate change is already changing ordinary people's lives from Australia to Brazil

Joao da Antonio's eyes are full of tears. If good rains do not come, he says, he will pack his bag, kiss his wife and two children goodbye and join the annual exodus of young men leaving hot, dry rural north-eastBrazil for the biofuel fields in the south.

Da Antonio, 19, can earn about £30 a month for 10 hours gruelling work a day cutting sugar cane to make ethanol, and more than a million small farmers like him migrate south for six months of the year because the land can no longer support them. Tens of thousands a year never return, forced to move permanently to Sao Paulo or another of Brazil's cities in search of work.


"Life here is one of suffering," Da Antonio said. "I will do anything to earn some money. None of us want to die, but the lack of water here will kill us. "

Around the world, millions of people like Da Antonio are feeling the force of a changing climate. As UN negotiations towards a global climate deal continue in Poznan, Poland, this week, evidence is emerging of weather patterns in turmoil and the poorest nations disproportionately bearing the brunt of warming.

While rich countries at the talks seek to set up global carbon trading, using financial markets to tackle - and profit from - climate change, poor countries want justice. They are seeking environmental justice: money to adapt their economies to climate changes they did not cause, and technology and resources to allow them to escape poverty while preserving their forests and ecosystems.

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